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How long does a clutch last?

For cars that are manual The clutch is among the most important mechanisms and one that motorists aren’t likely to be told that they have issues with. Sadly, like many car parts, clutches have an expected lifespan of at the time of mileage. So how can you spot indications of a failing clutch before it happens?

What’s the role of the clutch?

In order to understand what makes the role of the clutch so important, it’s important to know it does. It separates between the engines and wheels. This is what lets you change gear as well as stopping completely while the engine is running.

There are three major components of the clutch – the clutch plate, the pressure plate and flywheel. When the clutch is engaged when your feet are not on the pedal, springs inside the clutch force the three pieces together so that the engine and transmission are linked and operating at the same speed. When you press your foot down, spring will pull the pressure plate away from the clutch plate, so that the flywheel and the pressure plate move at different speeds and it allows you to change the gears.

How long will a clutch last?

The life span of a clutch is one issue that is hard to answer. There are many factors that determine how long it will last , but generally speaking they are made to last for between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. In most cases, they can last more than this when you have had regular servicing and maintenance on the vehicle with a van clutch mechanic. But where you live and what type of driving you engage in can affect the longevity of the vehicle – for instance, if you reside in a metropolitan area and spend long periods of time in traffic!

Then, slowly and suddenly, it fails

Clutches tend to fail in one of two ways – either sudden or slowly. In the event of a sudden failure, the clutch ceases to work entirely and the car is unable to move. In the case of gradual failure there could be issues such as the car isn’t stopping when you press the clutch.

A sudden failure can be due to a damaged or loose cable for the clutch which is linkable, or even a malfunctioning hydraulic master/slave cylinder. There could also be water leaks within the hydraulic line, or the disc might be contaminated with something like dirt or debris.

The more common situation where your car is suffering from things like the clutch cable is stretched, a bent linkage or the master and slave cylinders are failing. You might also have low hydraulic fluid or a damaged transmission mount. Certain of these issues might arise when you head to get your MOTs, but the majority do not.

The signs of failure

A sudden failure can be an all-or-nothing scenario but with the gradual onset of failures, there are indicators that could signal a problem. You may notice that your clutch sticks, is spongy, vibrates or your pedal seems to be loose. There may be squeaking or grumbling noises when you press the pedal or you may be able to rev your engine but have poor acceleration.

Trouble changing gear and an’slipping’ clutch that results in a brief slowdown are also signs of a problem that warrants a trip to your expert in car repair. The mechanic can employ car diagnostics to identify the cause of the problem. the clutch, and also check other important areas like brakes, tyres and even the windscreens too.